The Best Moving Companies to Make Your Small Move a Breeze

JK Moving makes small moves easy with its premium full-service option.

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best moving companies for small moves
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Moving is no small feat, regardless of the size of your home or the distance you are moving. Though most moving companies are associated with larger-scale moves, several companies offer special services for smaller relocations. A small move is generally regarded by movers as a sum of belongings that weighs up to 2,000 pounds and typically covers spaces like studios, one-bedroom apartments, or dorms. Additionally, distance isn't a major factor for small moves either—it's all about the amount of objects you own and their weight.

While some may think that small moves should be a DIY project, choosing a company that specializes in this type of relocation can be worthwhile. Like any other move, allowing professionals to pack, store, transport, and unpack all of your belongings saves you plenty of time, energy, and headaches compared to doing your move by yourself. The only thing you have to ask yourself is if you feel like the price is worth it.

When selecting a small move service, it’s best to consider factors like relocation distance, the volume of your possessions, moving time frame, and add-on services. In fact, these very same criteria will determine your quote, allowing you to assess what you truly need done. To help you make your move from a studio or one-bedroom apartment, we researched the best moving companies for small moves. Prepare to satisfy all your moving, storage, and packing needs when you select one of these vetted companies for your small move.

Best Moving Companies for Small Moves in 2023

Best Overall: JK Moving

JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full service, partial service, and self service
  • Type of Quote: Non-binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Mobile app is convenient for managing your move

  • Three consultations to choose from for estimates

  • 24/7 live customer support available

Cons
  • Initial deposit required


Why It Made the List

JK Moving has been serving customers for over 40 years, and we’re ranking it as the best moving company for small moves due to its wide range of services, user-friendly mobile app, and accessible customer support. Available in all 50 states, JK Moving provides customers with a plethora of moving options, which include local, long-distance, and international moves. Getting an estimate is convenient with the company’s three consultation options, which include an AI technology self-survey, virtual consultation, or in-home consultation. No matter your choice, each option gives customers complete control over how they want to begin the process.  

When you book JK Moving, you will be assigned a moving coordinator who will help cover all of your moving needs, from prep to the actual move itself. With the company’s full-service moving package, movers will use padding to protect your home's vulnerable objects and locations, like doors and doorways, wall corners, and banisters. Additionally, movers will help load your belongings on the truck for transportation. Once the truck sets off, you can easily track your move through the JK Moving mobile app, which also allows users to make payments, add insurance, and contact the moving team. 

While its package and app features are comprehensive, JK Moving will ask for an initial deposit upfront. However, you have the option to finance your move through the company’s partnership with Enhancify, which offers rates as low as 0%. In order to get a more accurate assessment of pricing, scheduling a consultation is necessary.

Best Customizable Service: Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines logo

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full service, partial service, and self service
  • Type of Quote: Binding and non-binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Different packing options are available

  • Comprehensive customer portal addresses all customer needs

  • Offers a move tracking tool

Cons
  • Lacks live customer service chat

Why It Made the List 

Whether you are moving from a studio apartment, a dorm, or your childhood bedroom, Atlas Van Lines offers customizable residential moving options to suit your needs. Established in 1948, the company has nationwide availability in all 50 states, as well as 17 countries around the world. Full-service moving options are available for various move types, including local, long-distance, and small moves. Atlas Van Lines also offers flexible packing options if you need full, partial, specialty, or unpacking services. 

Customers can submit a quote online, conduct a virtual estimate, and manage all aspects of a move through the Atlas Customer Portal. Additionally, the app allows you to track the date and status of your move, receive important moving documents, make payments, and communicate with your moving team. You can also file claims for lost, damaged, or delayed in-transit via the customer portal. Any claims made last up to nine months from delivery day, allowing you plenty of time to assess your belongings.

While Atlas’s Customer Portal is convenient, the service itself lacks a live-chat function, which can delay getting in touch with an agent. We should note that extras like valuation coverage and special packing services can raise the costs of the company’s estimated quote, so keep this in mind as you’re planning your move. Despite this, you can save money with Atlas Van Lines with no upfront deposit and binding/non-binding quote options.

Best Flexible Service: PODS

Pods Moving logo

Pods Moving

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 46 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Partial service and self service
  • Type of Quote: Non-binding

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Flexible storage size and terms to suit customer needs

  • Pricing information is easily accessible online

  • Packing container kits are available to purchase online

Cons
  • Services like packing and unloading are fulfilled by third-party companies

Why It Made the List 

PODS is a popular option among people with large-scale moving needs, but the company’s flexible storage sizing and timing terms offer a variety of tailored options for those making a small move. The company offers services in 46 states and has an array of price tiers that are dependent on your location, the type of unit you need, and how long you need to keep your unit. 

While full-service options for both packing and loading are unavailable, you can cut the high costs of these added extras by doing most of the work yourself with partial and self-service moving choices. The company gives customers control of how much moving storage is needed, with 8-, 12-, and 16-foot containers. After selecting a unit size, you can pick a moving date and are given a 30-day minimum to load and unload your items. You can take your time packing your items since there aren’t time restrictions for how long you can rent a unit, but you will be charged for every month you keep it.

Prices will vary depending on a variety of factors such as the distance of your move, how many objects you have, and so on. We also want to note that if you require any packing or unloading help, PODS will connect you with third-party movers to get the job done. If you’re wary of this, PODS’ 30-day moving window gives you adequate time to do the heavy lifting yourself.

Best Pricing Options: 1-800-Pack-Rat

1-800-Pack-Rat logo

1-800-Pack-Rat

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 30 states, including Washington, D.C.
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full service, partial service, and self service
  • Type of Quote: Binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Instant online quotes make booking a breeze

  • Storage space calculator lets you keep track of budget

  • Can store container at home or company facility

Cons
  • Location services are limited to 30 states

  • Packing, loading, and unloading services are done by third-party

Why It Made the List 

When moving, options for storage containers are often limited to the select sizes a company has. If your move is small and doesn’t require a large amount of footage, you could overpay for space that you won’t end up using. Though it is only available in 30 states, 1-800-Pack-Rat allows customers to pay for only the space that is needed, which cuts unnecessary costs and adds money back into your pocket. 

Choose from either an 8-, 12-, or 16-foot container to start, and use the company’s handy storage space calculator for the most accurate estimate possible. Once you’re done booking a container, you can take as much time as you need for both packing and unpacking your belongings. This flexibility also applies to the company’s container policy, which allows customers to either store the container on-site at their new home, or drop off their items at a nearby 1-800-Pack–Rat storage center. 

1-800-Pack-Rat also offers packing, loading, and unloading services. However, these options are completed by a third-party company. For those who’d like to DIY their move, 1-800-Pack-Rat does offer moving supplies like boxes, packing paper and tape, protective furniture pads, and more.

Best DIY Service: U-Pack

u pack logo

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Self service
  • Type of Quote: Non-binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Price is based on space, not weight

  • Estimate is all-inclusive with no hidden fees

  • Belongings are insured with liability coverage

Cons
  • Packing and moving services are not provided

  • Customers have three days each to load and unload belongings

Why It Made the List 

If your small move is something you feel you can easily handle yourself, U-Pack, a DIY moving service, might be the best choice for you. The company specializes in giving customers the freedom to pack, load, and unload their belongings in a ReloCube—a storage container with flexible sizing options. With U-Pack, you pay for what you use, and you can get multiple cubes to fit all your belongings. 

For the utmost protection, the company offers two types of coverage: carrier negligence liability and catastrophic liability. Each policy has its own specifications, but generally, any damaged or missing items are covered if you decide to opt-in for these policies. In order to get an accurate total of all your moving fees, including insurance opt-ins, the company has an online quote questionnaire that asks for your address, location, moving date, and home size. In return, you’ll get an instant quote, along with a transit window and drop-off date. 

While U-Pack is easy to use for solo movers, the service has a shorter packing/unpacking time frame than other competitors. The service only allows customers three days to pack, and three days to unload their belongings. If you need extra days or something unexpected happens during your move, U-Pack customer service is accessible via phone, email, and Facebook Messenger.

Best Last-Minute Movers: Bellhop

BELLHOP

BELLHOP

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 27 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full service and partial service
  • Type of Quote: Both

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Offers same-day moving options

  • In-person consultation is not needed for an estimate

  • Build-Your-Package provides flexible scheduling and pricing

Cons
  • Limited availability in 27 states

  • Cannot move items that exceed 300 pounds

Why It Made the List

Sometimes, moves can be unexpected and aren't always planned out carefully. For times like these, Bellhop can assist you with your small move with last-minute moving needs. Though the company’s span is limited to 27 states, Bellhop offers same-day moving services to get you to your new home ASAP. 

To get started, fill out a short form with your contact information as well as your current address and destination. From there, a representative will contact you and inquire about the size of your home, the amount of items you have, the dates/time frame you need, and more. If the service has availability for a same-day (or in some cases, a quick turnaround) move, you can let the movers handle the rest.

In addition to its last-minute moving offering, Bellhop also allows customers to change their reservations without penalty for up to 72 hours before the moving date. While the company’s time frame flexibility is commendable, the service does not move individual items that exceed 300 pounds. For this reason, we recommend using a different moving service in the event you have a grand piano or other heavy furnishings.

Best Nationwide Moving Service: Allied Van Lines

allied van lines logo

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full service, partial service, and self service
  • Type of Quote: Binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Allied Express option caters to small or DIY movers

  • Offers full-service loading and unloading no matter move size

  • In-depth tracking system monitors belongings 24/7

Cons
  • Online quotes are not instant

Why It Made the List 

For almost a century, Allied Van Lines has had experience in providing customers with reliable moving services across all 50 states. The company has a variety of moving options, which includes household, international, and small moves. Allied Van Lines also has its own moving container service, Allied Express, a full-service assistance option for customers planning a move without a box truck in mind. With this service, movers will load your belongings and either transport everything to your new destination or temporarily store what you have for 90 days, free of charge.

Scheduling a consultation is simple and can be done by submitting a quote online and talking to a representative over the phone. After touching base, you can work with an agent to conduct a virtual moving survey of your belongings for a quick and accurate pricing assessment. During the day of your actual move, you can conveniently track the status of your items 24/7 through the service’s online portal.

Best Movers With Storage Options: Wheaton World Wide Moving

Wheaton World Wide Moving

Wheaton World Wide Moving

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full service, partial service, and self service
  • Type of Quote: Non-binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Storage-in-transit policy can hold belongings for 180 days

  • Specializes in unique moves of varying scales

  • Will move heavy items like kitchen appliances and bulky furniture

Cons
  • Must conduct an in-home estimate for accurate pricing

  • 24-hour turnaround time for customer service requests

Why It Made the List 

Moving is a lengthy process, especially if you have a distant move-in day or need to complete in-home renovations for your new space. Wheaton World Wide Moving is a solid choice for small movers who need extra time to store their belongings so they can focus on getting their new home ready. 

The company’s storage-in-transit policy guarantees that your items will be safely kept in a facility for up to 180 days. Additionally, Wheaton World Wide Moving offers a full-service packing, loading, and unloading, allowing for maximum efficiency for your small move. Unlike other competitors, the company also specializes in handling heavy or bulky items like appliances, and high-value goods like antiques, instruments, and fragiles. 

Wheaton World Wide Moving has a flexible storage policy, but an in-home estimate is required to assess the cost of your move. However, getting an estimate is free and can be done either in person by an agent or virtually. The company also offers three valuation coverage options, from limited liability protection to extraordinary value protection (for items valued at $100 or more). Customer service can be reached via phone or email, but there is a 24-hour turnaround time for request/inquiry forms online.

Final Verdict

JK Moving is the best moving company for small moves because of the service’s dedication to customer convenience and satisfaction. This is exemplified through its flexibility in just about every category, whether it be packing, moving, or storage. Bookings can be easily done by submitting a quote online and speaking with a move consultant, or using the company’s AI-technology surveying program to do it yourself. JK Moving’s user-friendly app and 24/7 customer service means you never have to worry about the status of your small move.

Compare the Best Moving Companies for Small Moves

Company  Nationwide Availability Sample Quote* Type of Quote Packing & Loading Options Initial Deposit Required?
JK Moving 50 states $4,000 Non-binding Full service, partial service, and self service Yes
Atlas Van Lines 50 states $3,600 Binding and non-binding Full service, partial service, and self service No
PODS 46 states $1,601 Non-binding Partial service, and self service No
1-800-Pack-Rat 30 states, including Washington, D.C. $486 Binding Full service, partial service, and self service Yes
U-Pack 50 states $765 Non-binding Self service No
Bellhop 27 states $1,278 Binding and non-binding Full service and partial service Yes
Allied Van Lines 50 states $3,688 Binding Full service, partial service, and self service No
Wheaton World Wide Moving 50 states $1,750 Non-binding Full service, partial service, and self service No

*Quotes were calculated based on moves from Philadelphia to New York City weighing <2,000 pounds.

How to Choose a Moving Company for Small Moves  

Though countless moving companies exist, there are specific ones that are better suited for smaller-scale moves. Choosing the right company for any move is dependent on factors such as the quantity and type of belongings you have, time, relocation distance, and budget. For small moves in particular, you may also have to decide if you feel like it’s worth hiring a full-service company, or if you can do some tasks on your own if you feel like you don’t own a lot of items. 

Any move begins with an evaluation of possessions, including objects that will be kept and transported to the new destination, and items that will be thrown out or donated. Before selecting a company, it’s best to conduct a thorough inventory of everything you plan on bringing with you, from large furniture to small kitchen appliances. A quote is partially based on how many items you have, so try to be as accurate as possible.  

Having a budget in mind before booking your move is a safe first step that will help you be as realistic as possible with what you can afford. Small moves will likely save you a couple of extra dollars, but it’s always best to know what you can afford. Additionally, make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to pack, as this will be key for ensuring your move is able to go smoothly. Smaller moves usually mean fewer objects, but don’t leave everything to the last minute!

What Impacts the Cost of a Small Move?

Having a smaller move will naturally save you some money since you’ll have fewer items to manage, but there are a couple of factors that will affect the total price of your move. Depending on where you live and the destination you are moving to, the costs of your small move could be impacted by the distance and travel time it takes to get from point A to point B. The farther away your relocation destination is, the more it will likely cost. The time of year you plan your move can also impact the costs, as movers will typically have higher rates during high-volume months or seasons like summertime. 

The volume or number of possessions you have also matters for two important reasons: weight and time to move. Moving companies generally charge per hour for local services, but weight is also a factor when determining moving costs. Small moves are considered to be 2,000 pounds or less, so exceeding the determined limit could add more to the bill. Add-on services like packing and unpacking, vehicle transport, insurance coverage, and so on will also impact the overall total.

How to Prepare for a Small Move

Preparing for a move of any size requires decluttering and downsizing, packing, and cleaning. Regardless of how big your move is, you've most likely accumulated some clutter, so thoroughly go through your possessions and determine what you want to keep, throw away, or donate. Downsizing reduces the time and energy it will take to pack, load, and transport your items—which can save you both time and money. 

Packing is arguably the biggest and most important step of the moving process. Using moving boxes or bins can be helpful as they are uniform in shape and size, allowing for easy storage. Be sure to pack your belongings based on a category like room (i.e., office, bedroom, bathroom) or type (i.e., appliances, clothing, seasonal, etc.) for easy organization and unpacking. As you pack, set aside a bag or box with anything that you will want access to right away, such as clothes, toiletries, electronics, and other everyday objects.

Once you’ve finished packing and moving day is near, give your place a thorough cleaning—sweep and mop the floors, wipe down surfaces and windows, take out the trash, empty the fridge, etc. While you’re doing this, make sure that all your boxes are in one area to help make a clear pathway so that you or your movers will have quick and easy access to your belongings on the big day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is Considered a Small Move?

    A small move depends more on the weight and volume of your possessions and less on the physical distance to the destination. Generally, most moving companies define a small move as a collection or load of items that is 2,000 pounds and under. This usually applies to belongings that can fill up a studio, one-bedroom apartment, or dorm but can also include a handful of items that fall within a specific weight threshold (like a piano, weight equipment, etc.).

  • Do Small Movers Have an Item Limit? How Many Pieces Can You Move?

    Small movers do not have an item limit per se, but there are limitations for both the weight and type of items you can move. For most moving companies, it is standard to have a weight limit for a small move, which is typically 2,000 pounds and under. If you go above that weight, it is likely that you will garner extra charges for both labor and storage.

     

    Additionally, movers impose restrictions for a number of item types. These include hazardous materials (defined as anything corrosive, flammable, or explosive; i.e., nail polish and household batteries), perishable goods like refrigerated/frozen foods (if the move is long distance), and some sentimental items.

  • What Supplies Do Movers Bring for a Small-Load Move?

    No matter the size of your move, movers will bring supplies to help transport, secure, and protect all of your items. Typical supplies include hand trucks, moving dollies, bungee cords, moving pads, rope, working gloves, and plastic stretch wrap. Depending on the company and type of package you opt for, packing supplies like moving boxes and tape may also be provided.

  • How Much Does a Small Local Move Cost?

    A local move is considered to be anything within a 100-mile radius, and the overall cost can depend on expenses like supplies and any add-on packing and unpacking services. The average cost for a typical move for short-distance, full-service moves range from $400 to $15,200. Keep in mind that if you're moving within the same town or a few towns away, this is a short-distance move, and moving companies will charge an hourly rate for services in addition to other expenses.

  • What Is the Cheapest Way to Move Short Distance?

    Though it can be a bit more laborious and time-consuming, the cheapest way to move short distances is to do it yourself. This can be done by packing your belongings yourself, loading everything into your own car, and unloading at the new destination on your own.

  • Will a Moving Company Move One Piece of Furniture?

    If you want a moving company to load and unload your belongings, you will have to pay for this as an add-on service. Should you opt-in for this, your movers will move all of your furniture, whether it’s a couch, mattress, or exercise equipment. For this particular job, local movers are the best place to start, as they can be more flexible in terms of scheduling compared to most larger-scale companies that have limited availability. In the case of moving single items, you can expect to pay per hour for the time needed.

Methodology

This list of the best moving companies for small moves was compiled using more than 500 data points collected over a two-month span. Our research team reviewed nearly 20 companies, looking at services provided, customer support channels, quote processes, online tools, and more.

Weights were assigned to each piece of criteria evaluated, then used to calculate an overall score. In order to receive a high rating, companies had to perform well in a handful of categories, including but not limited to:

  • Types of services offered (10%)
  • Nationwide availability (10%)
  • Company reputation (6%)
  • Online quote system (5%)
  • Additional costs and fees (5%)

The information presented here was accurate at the time of publication and confirmed by at least two data collectors. Verification was completed through customer service calls and live chat or email exchanges.

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Sources
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  1. Moving.com "Small Moves: A Guide to Your Best Options" January 04, 2023 https://www.moving.com/tips/the-best-ways-to-handle-a-small-move/

  2. Moving.com "Moving Non Allowable Items - Not to Pack" January 05, 2023 https://www.moving.com/tips/moving-non-allowable-items-not-to-pack/

  3. MovingAPT.com “How Much Does it Cost to Move? Find Out with our Moving Calculator” January 05, 2023 https://www.movingapt.com/moving-cost-calculator/

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